Following Pope Francis’ historic encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care For Our Common Home” issued on June 18, much of the media commentary has focused on the Pope’s affirmation of climate change.
Indeed, the leader of the Catholic Church does not mince words when describing the threat that climate change poses to the earth and the human family and also denounces obstructionists who attempt to mislead the public about the solid science that describes the worsening problem.
However, attempting to cast Laudato Si’ as being solely about climate change, would be like attempting to say King Lear is about senility. The Pope’s encyclical cries out for humans to reconnect to nature in a spiritual manner, to take responsibility for stewardship, but he also and perhaps most notably unequivocally condemns deregulated free-market capitalism.
He refutes the idea that rising inequality throughout the globe can be addressed simply by market growth, a central tenet of the right-wing capitalist philosophy. Instead, he calls for a radical transformation in how goods and services are distributed throughout the human family.
“To claim economic freedom while real conditions bar many people from actual access to it, and while possibilities for employment continue to shrink, is to practice a doublespeak which brings politics into disrepute,” the Pope states.
This criticism recalls the portentous words of Sitting Bull, the great Hunkpapa Lakota holy man who said: “The white man can make everything, but he does not know how to distribute it.”
The Lakota, who are currently confined to reservations and made indigent by the continuance of genocidal policies enacted by the United States government, long ago recognized the interdependence of all natural things, including humans, the value of labor and the need for ecological stewardship that Pope Francis discusses in his landmark encyclical.
The Romero Institute is disappointed, although unsurprised, that the highly corporatized media in the United States and abroad has chosen to ignore or downplay the Pope’s call for a radical change in the human family’s economic distribution models. However, we will continue to shed light on this important aspect of the Pope’s landmark document. We will continue to read, reflect and share our findings with our followers.
The Romero Institute fully supports Pope Francis in his mission to bring attention to the ills of the modern world and shares his optimism that together we can overcome the forces of greed, selfishness and destruction and replace them with sacrifice, generosity and human value.
However, we are appealing to the Pope in recognizing how the Catholic Church has participated in unjust economic systems and programs that led to large-scale suffering, particularly during the Age of Discovery.
Therefore, Romero Institute is appealing to the Pope to revoke the Doctrine of Discovery.
The doctrine was part of a Papal Bull issued by Pope Alexander VI in 1493 that provided European countries with the moral and legal rationale to steal lands and resources from the Native populations in North and South America.
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